LIV PERSIAN LITERATURE 143 to be critical. It may be objected that in the Caspian provinces there are forests and a luxuriant vegetation with masses of violets, primroses, and snowdrops, but all Persians have ever hated the damp climate with its malarious marshes and heavy air, and they can see none of its beauties. In proof of this we find both Tavernier and Chardin recording that " the air is so unwholesome that the People cry of him that is sent to Command here, Has he robb'd, stolen, or murder'd, that the King sends him to Guilan ? " Practically all the poets mentioned in this chapter were natives of Khorasan or Central Asia, and were thus accustomed to and affected by its steppe vegetation, its rocky mountain ranges, and its bare plains. On the other hand, they had the advantage of living in one of the finest and most delightful climates in the world, with abundance of brilliant sunshine, an absence of extremes of heat and cold, and, above all, a most stimulating atmos- phere, which has helped to endow the gifted sons of Iran with the marked personality that has been their heritage throughout the ages.